Myofunctional Therapy is a program designed to correct the improper function of the tongue and facial muscles used for chewing, swallowing and while at rest.

OROFACIAL MYOFUNCTIONAL DISORDER (OMD)

Orofacial myofunctional disorder refers to improper function of the facial muscles, tongue and mouth. OMDs may directly or indirectly affect facial growth and development, chewing, swallowing, speech articulation, occlusion, oral hygiene, stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics and more. Several factors can contribute to OMDs, one being inherited muscle patterns. Another is airway obstruction. This may be caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, anatomical abnormalities or allergies. A tight lingual frenum (the string of tissue that holds the tongue to the floor of the mouth), may restrict the movement of the tongue. The subsequent adaptation of the facial muscles and tongue may advance OMDs. Orofacial myofunctional disorders may negatively impact treatment by orthodontists, speech pathologists and other dental professionals. Correct swallowing depends on a synergistic relationship between muscles of the face, mouth and throat. Muscles and nerves in the tongue, cheeks and throat must work in harmony. When a person swallows correctly, the tip of the tongue firmly presses against the hard palate (the roof the mouth, slightly behind the front teeth), which is designed to withstand the force created by the tongue during swallowing. During an incorrect swallow, the tip of the tongue presses against the teeth, sometimes pressing between the teeth. This is commonly called tongue thrust.


A person swallows 500-1000 times per day, so incorrect swallowing can contribute to a number of problems. However, the resting posture of the tongue and facial muscles is just as important, if not more, because it is more constant than swallowing.


SLEEP DISORDERED BREATHING AND MILD TO MODERATE OSA

Recent research has shown that myofunctional therapy may reduce the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing, such as snoring, and ameliorate mild to moderate OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). When functioning properly, the muscles of the tongue, throat, and face can reduce obstruction to the airway (see more…)